SAN FRANCISCO -- September 18, 2000 -- RightWorks Corporation, a provider of e-commerce and e-procurement applications, relaunched the company today with the appointment of a new chief executive officer and the release of an upgrade to its flagship eBusiness Application Suite.
RightWorks, which is 51 percent owned by Internet Capital Group (ICG), a technology-focused holding company, announced the appointment of Mary Coleman as CEO, succeeding RightWorks' founder, Vani Kola.
Coleman joins RightWorks from Internet Capital Group, where she was managing director of operations, responsible for providing strategic guidance and operational support to many of ICG's technology infrastructure partner companies, including RightWorks.
Previously, she was chairman and CEO at Baan Company, Europe's second largest software firm, where she helped the company through a restructuring period, recruited an executive management team and refocused the company's product strategy around the Internet and B2B e-commerce. Prior to her tenure at Baan, Coleman was CEO at Aurum Software, Inc., a provider of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Coleman led that company through its initial public offering in 1996, before Aurum was acquired by Baan in 1997.
Refocusing on "Mindshare"
Coleman says her appointment reflects the degree to which ICG views RightWorks as a strategic investment for the holding company and the new emphasis RightWorks will be placing on sales, marketing and business development. "It's a classic case of a very strong technology company but not all the strength necessarily on the sales and marketing side early on," Coleman said.
Lou Unkeless, vice president of product marketing for Rightworks, reaffirmed the company's new sales emphasis. "The company has been in business four years, and it has spent those four years focused on developing truly innovative architecture and technology and different functionality, but not really focusing on 'mindshare,' not really focusing on sales effectiveness, visibility and credibility in the marketplace. That's why Mary (Coleman) and I are here: to take all this great stuff the company has, and drive it out into the marketplace."
Coleman's experience in taking start-ups public was also a factor in her appointment, since RightWorks is targeting December for its initial public offering, according to the new CEO. "I've had a lot of experience taking small startups to $100-million-plus companies and getting them public," Coleman said.
RightWorks new board includes three members from ICG (Kenneth A. Fox, Ron Hovsepian and Sam Jadallah, appointed chairman of the board), and Douglas Leone, of Sequoia Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. RightWorks founder and former CEO Vani Kola is retiring from the company to spend more time with her family, Coleman said.
Applications Suite Upgrade
On the product side, RightWorks today announced the release of an upgrade to the company's flagship eBusiness Applications Suite, which includes an e-procurement component and a component for setting up e-marketplaces.
RightWorks e-procurement solution provides what the company calls "end-to-end purchasing lifecycle management, from requisitioning to purchase order creation to receiving to settlement." It also provides an audit trail to facilitate global spend management, allowing for both global sourcing and local procurement in a decentralized and distributed corporate environment, according to the company. The solution targets so-called white-collar MRO, blue-collar MRO and production spending, and it can be tied into back-end financial and ERP systems through an integration toolkit.
The applications suite, targeted at multinational corporate customers with offices or divisions around the world, provides a unified platform for procurement, but with the capability to customize the software to accommodate the complex business processes of "extended" organizations. For example, the software allows for multiple workflows, business rules, languages, currencies, content presentment and pricing that can be customized for each business unit, department or individual within a company.
An advantage of this approach, according to RightWorks, is that the entire platform can be tied together centrally to provide top management with data from across the organization. RightWorks Global Commerce Intelligence provides a "cockpit" giving a chief procurement and financial officers a single view of a complex, global organization, to track budgets, look at historical and future committed spend and compare performance against market intelligence, according to Unkeless.
The focus on global capabilities reflects RightWorks' view of the future of supply chain management, a future in which multinational companies will take advantage of the Internet to form and disband "virtual supply chains" globally on a case-by-case basis to meet individual instances of demand.
David Truog, senior analyst at of Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, expounded on this vision in a recent report, writing, "The (Internet) propels business toward a new environment where highly specialized and interoperable firms fluidly form and disband partnerships, giving rise to a new market structure -- e-business networks." RightWorks believes that the emergence of these types of networks will give rise to a new class of applications that reside inside and outside a company's firewall and that enable a dynamic value chain.
The dynamic value chain, as Unkeless explains it, "is the ability for a company, as each new instance of demand comes into it, to leverage the Internet and ... the multiple exchanges out there to identify a global base of trading partners and ... to come together on a one-time basis to create a supply chain, effectively deliver goods and services to the customer and then have the supply chain fall away."
Upgrade features in the new release of the applications suite include support for 12 languages (English, British English, Continental French and French Canadian, Continental and Latin American Spanish, Portuguese, German, traditional and simplified Chinese, Korean and Japanese), triangulated multi-currency support for transactions involving the euro, and enhancements in catalog features and supplier administration. Customers already using RightWorks e-procurement solution include Wells Fargo Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Bank One.
RightWorks' other service offerings include RightWorks Universal Content Manager, a catalog server that allows a buying organization to manage, within its own firewall, catalogs from its suppliers; and RightWorks RightNow, an implementation methodology that enables companies to rapidly deploy RightWorks' applications. RightWorks also announced today its Open Commerce Network, which provides RightWorks customers access to the offerings of more than 20 suppliers, including aggregated content suppliers such as InfoSpace.com, CommerceOne, ec-Content and TPN Register. The exchange also provides access to financing, transaction delivery, logistics and settlement services.
Unkeless noted in an interview that RightWorks is working to build connections to other market exchanges and procurement platform providers rather than tying the company's customers solely to RightWorks' supplier partners. "What we are really trying to promote is this openness that provides companies with the ability to define how they want to interact with their trading partners and their customers, suppliers and content providers, to give them the broadest opportunity to participate in this new way of doing business."
The RightWorks solutions are intended to help enterprises "operate outside of the firewalls, in the white space between different companies," Coleman added.
The various RightWorks solution modules are priced separately.